Media Center



  June 29, 2006

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights deplores the failure by the United States to respect the Commission’s request for precautionary measures in the death penalty case of Angel Maturino Resendiz, who was executed in the state of Texas on June 27, 2006.

Mr. Maturino Resendiz filed a petition with the Commission in April 2006 in which he argued that his death sentence was not consistent with international human rights protections binding upon the United States, based upon his conditions and treatment on death row, the adequacy of his legal representation, the fairness of clemency proceedings in Texas, and his method of execution by lethal injection.

On May 1, 2006 the Commission granted precautionary measures in favor of Mr. Maturino Resendiz requesting that the United States preserve his life pending the Commission’s investigation of the allegations in his petition and reiterated those measures on June 26, 2006. Also on June 26, 2006, the U.S. Department of State informed the Commission that it had communicated the Commission’s request to authorities in the state of Texas, and Mr. Maturino Resendiz’s representatives informed the Commission that they had filed a petition for a stay of execution with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals based in part upon the proceedings pending before this Commission. The Commission has since learned that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Mr. Maturino Resendiz’s petition, the U.S. Supreme Court likewise declined to intervene, and on June 27, 2006 Mr. Maturino Resendiz was executed by lethal injection.

The Commission is aware of the pain and suffering caused to victims and their families by the egregious crime of murder and is cognizant of the duty of states to protect potential victims of this crime and to punish those responsible. At the same time, the Commission considers that the efforts by states to combat this and other serious crimes must be carried out with the utmost respect for the human rights of the persons under their jurisdiction and in compliance with the applicable international human rights commitments. This Commission has also held that the failure of a member state of the Organization of American, including the United States, to preserve a condemned prisoner's life pending review of his or her petition contravenes its international legal obligations by undermining the effectiveness of the Commission's procedures, depriving condemned persons of their right to petition in the inter-American human rights system, and resulting in serious and irreparable harm to a petitioner’s most fundamental right, the right to life.

The Commission therefore condemns the failure by the United States and the state of Texas to respect the Commission’s requests to preserve Mr. Maturino Resendiz’s life pending the examination of his petition. The Commission also calls upon the United States to comply with the Commission's requests for precautionary measures in future death penalty cases and thereby fully and properly respect its international human rights obligations.

Washington, D.C., June 28, 2006

Reference: IACHR-22-